2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
This story of David gives us a great perspective of a parents Love towards their child, often no matter what the child has done. No my mother has always told me that a parents love is as forgiving God’s or at least should be. Now I am not a parent myself yet so I wouldn’t know, but I can hazard a guess based on a lot of my behaviors as a kid. I have always had my family to fall back on no matter what I have done. I remember one day I was home alone and I broke a lamp while playing indoor golf…thats right indoor golf. Well my parents came home they were pretty furious, but you could tell that they still loved me. They let me keep my roof over my head and they continued to feed me. However, I did have to spend about two weeks secluded and grounded in my room, but they still loved and have continued to love me through all the mistakes I have made.
Now we have a situation in 2 Samuel where David’s son Absalom is fighting against him yet we still see compassion in David’s heart to protect and love his son. Now how many of you know Absalom? Well her is a quick lesson/recap. Absalom is David’s third son. Now in 2 Samuel 13 we learn that Absalom seeks to avenge the rape of his sister Tamar by killing his brother Amnon. Talk about a crazy family. Well after Absalom kills Amnon he flees because he is afraid David will be mad at him. Sometime later Absalom returns and reconciles with his father. Then In Chapter 15 Absalom becomes angered with David over how is treated and he declares himself King and moves to Hebron which was the old capital before it was moved to Jerusalem…almost done here. So David finally starts to get angry and declares war on his son Absalom. Now this is where this story picks up we see David’s compassion for his son who is fighting against him. He says “deal gently for my sake with the young boy Absalom”. We also see at the end of the story David’s compassion for his fallen son. David plays this parental role so well in this passage because he continues to love and look after Absalom despite all he has done.
Now this whole time I have been talking about the love between a parent and a child and most of you probably are thinking…”thats great I love my child what’s the point?” Well the point is that should this be how we treat everyone. This passage from Ephesians gives us a look at what commentators call “the rules for new life”. Now let’s follow this passage through it has six parts which we can learn from and bring back to David’s story. And they are each about one or two verses in length. Ok so starting off with Verse 25 we see no lying. God wants us to speak the truth to our neighbors…and by neighbors he means everyone. Lying can be detrimental to someone and even to yourself. In James 3 it talks about the tongue being a small member of the body, but boasting great power. With the tongue many things can happen, hurting or healing. Therefore in verse 25 when God says speak the truth he means use your tongue for healing and helping and lifting.
Next verse 26 and 27 talks about anger. How many of us get angry. Yea pretty much all of us. Well God doesn’t say anger is a bad thing he just follows it with “do not sin or let the sun go down on your anger”. Now anger is a tricky thing here because God is allowing us to be angry, but in a sense he is saying control your anger. Do not let the sun go down on your anger or don’t let your anger fester in your system. The longer you are angry the worse a situation tends to get and in the Bible it explains that it gives the devil more time to act on your anger. I know I often suffer from severe anger, but I knew I needed to learn to control it. A little anger is not bad, but as soon as we allow it to control our lives it can become problematic.
Verse 28 talks about stealing. Now stealing may not be something we think about everyday or even something we ever do. However, the writer of Ephesians wants us to know that it is something that can get in the way of us having a relationship with Christ. Like the others he provides a bit of advice in that we should do an honest days work so we have things to share with others and we have no reason to steal. The last of the specifics the author gives is that of evil talk. As I talked about with lying this is another one where the tongue takes center stage again. We remember those words form James. The author continues in verse 31 with a list of other things that can keep us from our relationship with Christ. He lists bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. All of these things hindering he us.
Ok so we now know how to destroy our relationship with God, so lets move on to how to make it better in 32 the author says we need to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. Now in my society living in Washington D.C. I cant think of anything more difficult to do. In fact I can’t think of any more difficult ways to live. However, Christ never made things easy and simple. He made it so we would have to work through things and get better as time went on. He knew this would not be an overnight accomplishment, but instead something that takes practice and thinking about. Now I can’t think of a situation where a person embodies this so well like David in our story. He has been let down by Absalom and had so many reasons to be angry at him. However, he is not he shows compassion and forgives Absalom for what he has done. Imagine what it would look like for us to forgive those who have deeply hurt us. Whenever we stay angry at people or talk bad about someone or lie or do something unfavorable to God we hinder our relationship to grow close to him. The last two verse sum up so well the message of both of these passages. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved Children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” The author here wants us to live more like God and that is the ultimate rule for our lives that we live as Christians.